Akai's fake death technique

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At the end of Clash of Red and Black, FBI Agent Shuichi Akai faked his death with the help of Conan Edogawa and CIA Agent Hidemi Hondou, undercover as the Black Organization member Kir.

The plan was to have Kir meet with Akai and pretend to shoot him. To make it look realistic for Gin and others involved, blank cartridges and blood packets with small detonators would be used. Akai would then fall down in the truck, seemingly dead. While Kir set the detonator, Akai would place Rikumichi Kusuda's disguised body in his place and hide out of sight. The two would then leave.

Meanwhile, Jodie Starling would take one of Conan's two cellphones with her, with Rikumichi's fingerprints on it, thinking they were Akai's, when she went to validate the identity of the body with the police—the fingerprints matched with those of the corpse and Akai's death was then "verified."

Background[edit]

After the main events of Clash of Red and Black, Gin is suspicious of how easy it was to recover Kir from the FBI and that Shuichi Akai made no move to stop their escape. Gin thinks Akai is still hiding something and that doubt is relayed to The Boss of the Black Organization, who plans a test of Kir's loyalty. Gin meets with Kir and conveys the boss's ultimatum—Kir must kill Akai in order to regain the Black Organization's trust, or she will be killed. Akai and Kir meet at Raiha pass where she shoots Akai twice and blows up the truck with his body inside; however, several abnormalities surrounding the circumstances of Akai's death invite the possibility that Akai faked his death with the help of Kir and Conan Edogawa.

Initial Planning[edit]

Rikumichi Kusuda, whose cadaver will be Akai's body double.

After the death of Black Organization agent Rikumichi Kusuda, Shuichi Akai and Conan went to talk to Hidemi Hondou after getting Eisuke Hondou to "wake her up". They spoke with her about sneaking her back into the Black Organization, received her promise to cooperate, and began to formulate a plan on how to reinsert her back into the Organization. At that point, Akai figured that the plan to return her, adjusted to the framework of the FBI's emergency evacuation plan, would seem suspiciously easy to the Organization, so they likely wouldn't trust her and therefore require her to prove her loyalty. Akai, who had experience in the Black Organization and, therefore, has knowledge of how they think[1], guessed the requested task might be to kill him, so he decided to prepare appropriately, to be safe. This was the time frame when the plan for his "death" was most likely formulated.

At their disposal were two important articles: Kusuda's body, for use as Akai's body double, and Conan's two identical phones, one of which had Kusuda's fingerprints on it from when Conan performed a test to determine the identity of the BO operative in the hospital.[2] Akai planned to later hold the phone, with fingertips covered in glue, to later trick the FBI into thinking Kusuda's fingerprints are Akai's.

Conan and Akai's preparations: Setting up the phone trick and Akai's body double[edit]

Akai takes one of Conan's cellphones with his right hand during an FBI strategy meeting where Jodie was present.

Akai covers his hands with glue so that he will not leave fingerprints on Conan's phone. The glue made his fingertips slippery, so he accidentally drops a can of coffee. In the hospital during the FBI planning meeting, Akai takes Conan's phone (the one with Kusuda's fingerprints) with his right hand.[3] Even though Akai is left-handed, he is forced to use his right hand in order to match the one Kusuda used to handle the phone earlier.[2] Akai also makes a conspicuous show of grabbing Conan's phone so that Jodie will later think of using the phone to match the fingerprints. Meanwhile, either Conan or Akai steals Jodie's phone and causes it to malfunction,[4] perhaps by dropping it in water like Conan did to Kusuda's[5]. This gives Conan the opportunity to loan Jodie the one with Kusuda's fingerprints on it.[4]
(It has never been confirmed that Jodie's phone malfunction was a part of the plan. They could have expected that when FBI remember that Akai had touched Conan's phone, they would have made up their own excuse to borrow it from him. The fact that Jodie's phone broke down, could have a coincidence, in which Conan saw the opportunity to hand over the false evidence without raising suspicious.) Sometime before Akai and Kir's meeting, Akai and Conan abscond with and prepare Kusuda's body to look somewhat like Akai. The time frame for this could be the night before the strategy meeting after the fake death plan was devised or after Kir was returned to the Black Organization but before she called to meet with Akai.

Kir and Akai's preparations: Faking the gunshots for the camera[edit]

Before Kir is returned to the Black Organization, she and Akai discuss the timing and the location of the fake gunshots. They decide on the lung and forehead for reasons explained later. Akai prepares fake blood packets and small detonators, a small remote to detonate them with, and protectors for the skin. Kir obtains blank cartridges, likely from the FBI or Yukiko, and hides them on her person since she will be under watch and may be searched by the Black Organization. She might carry a few different calibers for different models of handguns, so the one with blanks will match the one given to her by the Organization for the meeting.

Akai and Kir's meeting[edit]

With Akai, Kir, and Conan's prep work done, the FBI's plan to return Kir with the vans takes place and she successfully returns to the Black Organization. As predicted, she is soon after tasked with killing Akai.[6] Akai gets the expected call from Kir, and stops James Black from calling Jodie to prevent the other FBI from interfering with the plan.[7] When Akai grabs James' hand to prevent him from dialing, James feels the glue on Akai's fingers, so Akai is forced to reveal the plan to him. Akai heads out after loading Kusuda's body in the backseat of his truck. His model truck probably has a backseat/extended cab because it has rear side windows, although he also could have loaded Kusuda's body onto the covered bed[8] and moved the body to the backseat when he reached Raiha pass before meeting Kir. Meanwhile, Conan gives the phone with Kusuda's fingerprints to Jodie.[4]

Akai keeps his right hand hidden in his pocket while Kir shoots him.

Blood packet placement and Akai's strange behavior while getting shot[edit]

When Kir goes to shoot Akai, he is forced to unnaturally keep his right hand in his pocket[9] in order to push the detonator for the blood packets. The shot to the head was above Akai's hat line where a fake blood packet had been placed,[10] and in order to bleed from his mouth, Akai could have bit open a small packet he was carrying inside his mouth or simply bit his tongue.[10]

Disappearing blood trails indicate Akai's body was switched out[edit]

The blood trails on Akai's face disappear and the position of Akai's head changes after Kir prepares the bomb—this indicates Akai moved Kusuda's body into position to take his place.

After Kir shoots Akai in the head and he falls down in the seat, his face has a trail of blood running down it;[10] later, after Kir had planted the bomb, the lower half of Akai's face and his body are visible, yet the blood trail is gone. Akai's head is also positioned differently.[11] There is no reason for Kir to wipe the blood off Akai's face, nor is she shown doing so, so this is direct proof that the body was somehow tampered with or switched with another by someone other than Kir. Furthermore, the body without the blood trail from the mouth has dimples at the corners of the mouth, something that Kusuda has but Akai does not.

Kir uses psychological traps to trick Gin[edit]

Kir uses psychological traps to trick Gin into overlooking that she and Akai could have predicted enough details of the assassination plan to concoct an effective trick—she manipulates her conversation with Gin by suggesting possible courses of action and making requests that he would certainly reject. These rejected requests subconsciously make Gin falsely assume that she had wanted or planned on having things as she requested and had not anticipated his demands. The result is that Gin fallaciously believes that he is in control and that Kir could not have plotted anything in advance.
This psychological trap was first used when Gin told Kir how she was going to kill Akai[12]. Rena suggested alternate options such as having Gin and company surround and shoot Akai, and that she would like some extra time to prepare—both requests were denied by Gin.[12]

Additionally, Kir and Akai planned another psychological trap for Gin with the placement of the gunshots. They decided to pick a fatal—but not immediately so—lung shot for the site of the first “shot”. Kir would then tell Gin that such a shot was enough, but Gin will be sure to object and order her to finish him off with a head shot, just to be sure.[13]Kir will then deliver the coup de grâce that Gin ordered. Kir and Akai knew in advance that Gin would ask for a headshot in these circumstances because Gin would not want to leave anything up to chance. The trap is that they allowed Gin to pick the location because he would then believe that they could not have planned on his choosing the head.[14]

Conveniently timed police arrive which allows Akai and Kir to avoid additional scrutiny[edit]

Kir moves to the front of Akai's truck to prepare the bomb, creating a gap of time where Gin and Vodka cannot see Akai's body with the camera around her neck.

After Kir delivers the shots, she is interrupted by police heading her way.[11] Likely, they were called on purpose to force Gin to order Kir to leave and not examine things more closely. Kir then turns towards the hood of Akai's truck to prepare the bomb, rendering the inside of the truck invisible to Gin, [11] during which time Akai switches places with Kusuda's body. Kir places the bomb by the corpse and leaves, allowing Akai more time to maneuver off-camera. He puts both his phone and Rikumichi's right hand into a pocket, so that both are protected for later fingerprinting.[15] The bomb destroys Rikumichi's face and obscures the powder burn left on his temple after his suicide.

The identities of the accomplices who would have timed the accident is unclear at this point; Agasa and Conan were tied up with the Shiranpuri case at the time, so someone else must have been involved. The FBI, other than James, who coincidentally found out at the last minute (and thus too late to help), were unaware that Akai faked his death, so it would have to have been someone else whom Akai trusted. Yukiko, who was later shown to be working with Akai, is one possibility. It is also possible the assistants are the two subordinates whom Akai asked to follow Yukiko and the Detective Boys in the movie pre-screening murder case.

Conan checks his phone to see if the plan worked[edit]

After Jodie goes to the police and has them verify the fingerprints on the borrowed phone, she returns Conan's phone to him, and he checks the serial number immediately. Given that the serial number is different, he now knows that the original phone was kept as evidence, meaning that the plan was a success.[16] Conan is relieved to see that the phone had then been confiscated by the police, as Akai should then be alive and the Black Organization should be unaware of this fact. Later, when Eisuke tells Conan "it sounds like there is a heavy atmosphere over the FBI, like someone died," Conan smiles to himself and thinks "Yes, everything is OK", indicating that everything is going as planned.[17]

Akai keeps the plan secret from his FBI comrades to fool the Black Organization[edit]

The reason the other FBI, including Jodie, were left out of the fake death plan is the same reason why the FBI were also left out of the plan to return Kir with the three vans.[18] Conan, Akai, and Rena needed everyone to react realistically to Akai's death, given the Black Organization's past behaviors of ensuring that their targets were dead. This wound up being a good idea because Vermouth checked out Jodie and James Black for this reason.[19] Bourbon also checked out the FBI to ascertain if Akai was really dead—Jodie and Camel, specifically, due to their relationships with Akai—this further justifies keeping Jodie and Camel in the dark to Akai.

Bourbon's investigation[edit]

In the Scarlet Showdown, Bourbon explains his hypothesis for how Akai faked his death to Subaru Okiya. If Kusuda committed suicide, he would do so by shooting himself in the temple. Even if his body was burnt, the evidence would remain. Around the time the Black Organization lost contact with Kusuda, Akai was apparently shot in the head, and the police managed to identify his burnt body by matching the fingerprints with those on Conan's phone. Normally, a burnt corpse would have been marred and, thus, have unreadable fingerprints. Bourbon believes that Akai intended the hand to be found so that the fingerprints could be compared and his death confirmed, not believing Vermouth's counterclaim that Akai's hand survived because he tended to shoot solely with his favored left hand, while keeping the right one in his fireproof trouser pocket.

Bourbon deduces that the trick to Akai's death was a simple body switch. The fingerprints on Conan's phone were indeed Kusuda's, and the reason why Akai's fingerprints didn't show up on the phone was because he covered his fingertips with glue. Bourbon also deduces that Kir was working with Akai to fake his death. He hypothesizes that Akai was given a device by Professor Agasa that would squirt fake blood when a blank was fired, hence the blood on his head, and that it was anticipated that Gin would want a headshot as the coup de grâce, thus allowing them to prepare everything beforehand. Bourbon realizes that Conan was involved in the plan due to Conan's loaning of his phone and through his interpretation of Akai's presumed last words. "Who would have thought that it would come to this" was really "who besides" them and "him would have thought it would come to this," with "him" being Conan.


Problems with this technique[edit]

The gunshot in Kusuda’s body is through his temple,[20] but when Akai “died”, he received a gunshot directly to his forehead from the center. Also, Kusuda didn’t have a lung shot. Both the forehead and lung shots could have been added post-mortem, but even with the burning, the coroner might have been able to see the truth, risking word getting to the Organization about the abnormalities.

The second problem is using blanks at such close range. Although blanks lack the bullet part, the weapon will still discharge a cloud of hot gas called muzzle blast that may burn anything close. Also, if the blank uses a wad of paper or similar to replace the bullet or if there is shrapnel in the gun, these can be propelled out at high enough speeds to be potentially lethal. “Crimped blanks” exist, which lack such a wad, but that would not prevent the muzzle blast. Gosho Aoyama has ignored the actual dangers of blanks for dramatic license; however, the presence of a burn scar on Scar Akai's right side of the face could suggest muzzle blasts were actually considered (and Bourbon may have designed the disguise with this idea in mind, therefore having muzzle blast burns in the places where he was shot.)

Additional hints that Akai faked his death[edit]

  • The place name Raiha Pass, the location where Akai supposedly died, is derived from Reichenbach Falls, the location where Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty apparently fell to their deaths at the end of The Final Problem. It is later revealed that Sherlock survived the fall, but decided to fake his own death and go into hiding in order to protect himself and John Watson from Moriarty's henchmen.
  • The fake death contraption has been used previously in the manga. The first was used in the Black Pearl case by Sonoko Suzuki's mother and the magician Kazumi Sanada[21]. The second time, Yukiko brought a special vest onto the Bell Tree Express for faking Shiho's death.[22] Notably, the vest used several of the components that were necessary to fake Akai's death. The vest was bullet-proof, with a fake blood-releasing contraption to make realistic looking gunshots. Yukiko may have been able to supply similar theatrical components to Akai and Kir before the plan was put into action.
  • Excluding Akai's apparent death, Gosho Aoyama has never killed off any character who has appeared in more than one case, much less a protagonist. The closest such situation was the flashback to the death of Jinpei Matsuda in "The Trembling Police Headquarters" arc,[23] but it was stated that he died at the outset. At the time of Clash of Red and Black Gosho Aoyama had had 600+ chapters to set a precedent.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Manga File 600 pg 7, All or nothing...
  2. ^ a b Manga Volume 51 File 11 page 14, The Fake Patient
  3. ^ Manga Volume 58 File 5 pg 10-11, Last Resort
  4. ^ a b c Manga Volume 58 file 10 pg 14, Camel's Past
  5. ^ Manga Volume 58 File 1 pg 14, Pursuit and...
  6. ^ Manga Volume 58, File 9, pg 15: "Friday the 13th"
  7. ^ Manga Volume 58, File 10, pg 12: "Camel's Past"
  8. ^ Manga Volume 58, File 11, pg 11: "Spell of Magic"
  9. ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pgs 2-4: "Wedge of Steel"
  10. ^ a b c Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 4: "Wedge of Steel"
  11. ^ a b c Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 5: "Wedge of Steel"
  12. ^ a b Manga Volume 58, File 10, pg 3: "Camel's Past"
  13. ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 2: "Wedge of Steel"
  14. ^ Manga Volume 67, File 6, pgs 2-3: "The Bomber's Aim"
  15. ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 6: "Wedge of Steel"
  16. ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 15: Wedge of Steel
  17. ^ Manga Volume 60, File 2, pg 16: Eisuke's Confession
  18. ^ Manga Volume 58, File 8, pg 4: Wedge of Steel
  19. ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 14: Wedge of Steel
  20. ^ Manga Volume 58 File 1 pg 16, Pursuit and...
  21. ^ Manga Volume 16 file 8
  22. ^ Manga Volume 78, File 6 (823), pg 11: "Mystery Train (Releasing Smoke)"
  23. ^ Manga Volume 36 Files 5-11, Volume 37 File 1: Trembling Police Headquarters